What’s in a name?

We’ve been really busy at Chez Butter lately.  I’m trying to finish my dissertation by mid-August and the sun has finally started shining in Seattle, which means that everyone heads to their local nursery to plant as many things as possible before it starts to rain again.  In the middle of all this, I’ve been restocking the Etsy shop, so I have been lax about cooking blog-worthy dishes.  And although I’m sure everyone is just dying to hear about the slow-cooker chicken verde that Kevin and I ate for most of last week, I think I’ll take a pass and post something a little more interesting!

I love biscotti.  Particularly, I love Caffé Vita’s anise biscotti, so I decided I would make some something similar!  Sadly, the vintage recipe gods did not share in my passion for these little biscuits, so after scouring most of my vintage cookbooks, I found one lonely biscotti recipe from Recipes Old, New, Tried and True from the Edmonds, Washington Holy Rosary Altar Society, published in 1981.

After reading through the recipe, I realized that these weren’t really biscotti at all, but a cake-like cookie to pair with coffee or tea.  After some coaxing from Kevin, I decided I’d make the recipe anyway, with a few minor adjustments since I didn’t want to track down anise extract.

I have to say, I was rather pleased with how these cookies turned out.  They’re definitely not biscotti, but they’re not really cookies either — tea biscuits or tea cakes would be a better name for them, I think.  Regardless of what I called them, they were super-tasty with coffee and had a pleasant anise flavor from a few glugs of locally-made Pacifique Absinthe.

Absinthe-Laced Tea Biscuits

Makes about 2 dozen

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup and 2 tbsp. butter

3 cups flour

3 tsp. baking powder

3 tsp. vanilla

3 tsp. Absinthe

1.  Melt butter and allow to cool.  Meanwhile, in mixer, beat eggs and sugar until sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes).

2. Add cooled butter, vanilla, and absinthe to the sugar mixture and mix until incorporated.

3. Mix flour and baking powder together and add to dough mixture and mix for 30 seconds.

4. (Dough will be very moist, so wet hands before touching dough.)  Shape into 1 1/2 inch diameter balls and place on cookie sheet.  Press down on each cookie to flatten.

5. Bake for 12-15 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Cookies will not brown, so watch out for over-baking.


  1. Reply
    Kate at Serendipity June 3, 2010

    Alison, first of all, good luck with the dissertation–I remember when mine was done. It was a great day!

    These tea cakes look like some that we bought in Italy–light, airy, not crunchy at all. But very definitely anise flavored. As you said, perfect with a cup of tea!

    Thanks for posting this. It’s going in my file…

  2. Reply

    Absinthe ! My, my! I don’t even know where to get it! I thought it wasn’t able to be purchased in the States! The cookies look like Italian pignoli cookies (sans pine nuts). The anise flavor in your cookies must be wonderful with hot tea!

    In other areas, I am looking for a rumtopf … have you found anything in your search for vintage kitchen things?

    • Reply
      alison June 14, 2010

      Hi Susan! I had no idea what a rumtopf was until I googled it. I bet I’ll see one eventually, and if I do — it has your name on it!

  3. Reply
    Pacific Distillery LLC June 13, 2010

    A very interesting recipe. Using our Pacifique Absinthe as a flavor ingredient is a unique culinary twist. I think I’ll have to try to make some for our next bottling session.

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